Antulay remarks to dominate parliament sitting Monday (Lead)

December 21st, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) Minority Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay’s controversial remarks on the death of a top police official in the Mumbai terror attack is set to dominate parliament proceedings Monday, with the opposition clamouring for his resignation while the government planning a statement on the matter.”Antulay is repeatedly speaking a lie on the killing of (Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief) Hemant Karkare. His irresponsible statement as a cabinet minister has weakened India’s position on the Mumbai terrorist attack internationally,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Syed Shah Nawaz Hussain told IANS Sunday.

Participating in a Lok Sabha debate on the Mumbai terror attacks, Antulay hinted that Karkare’s death while combating the terrorists could be linked to the Sep 29 Malegaon bombing he was investigating and in which members of Hindu radical groups are the main suspects.

Urging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately sack Antulay from the cabinet, Hussain said the issue would dominate parliament sitting Monday if the government’s statement on the issue, expected Monday, was not acceptable to the people of the country.

On the other hand, a highly placed government source said the ruling coalition had not taken a decision on who and when should give a reply in parliament on this issue.

“The government is yet to decide whether the prime minister (Manmohan Singh) or the Leader of the Lok Sabha (Pranab Mukherjee) should give reply on Antulay. And a decision on when a reply should be given has also not been taken. The decisions will be taken tomorrow morning,” the source told IANS Sunday.

He said the government was ready to face the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena in parliament on the issue.

“We have communicated to all our MPs to be present in parliament in the coming two days,” said the source, not wishing to be identified.

The current session of parliament concludes Tuesday.

Hussain said former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement - confirming that Mohammad Ajmal Amir alias Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive during the attacks, is a Pakistani - had nailed Pakistan’s lie.

“While Pakistani leader Sharif helps us (India), Antulay is helping Pakistan. Antulay’s statement divided the nation, which was united for war against terror,” the BJP leader said.

Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee assured the house last week that the government would make a suitable reply before the current session ends.

The Congress core committee, which met here Saturday, also discussed the issue.

Highly placed government sources have said Antulay had sent his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the uproar over his remarks in the Lok Sabha - and outside - on Karkare’s killing but the minister has refused to either confirm or deny whether he had put in his papers.

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